'We Have a Deal!': Serbia, Self-Proclaimed Kosovo Reach Agreement on License Plates - Borrell
22:45 GMT 23.11.2022 (Updated: 01:15 GMT 24.11.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Serbia and self-proclaimed Kosovo have reached an agreement on the issue of license plates and prevention of escalation, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
"We have a deal! Very pleased to announce that Chief Negotiators of #Kosovo & #Serbia under EU-facilitation have agreed on measures to avoid further escalation and to fully concentrate on the proposal on normalisation of their relations," Borrell wrote on Twitter.
"Serbia will stop issuing licence plates with Kosovo Cities’ denominations & Kosovo will cease further actions related to re-registration of vehicles. I will invite the parties in the coming days to discuss next steps," he said.
Following the agreement, the head of Serbia's office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, said on Wednesday night that the final normalization of ties between Belgrade and Pristina followed by the recognition of Kosovo by Serbia is not on the agenda of negotiations under the auspices of the European Union.
"[Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin] Kurti insisted and said that he was only interested in full normalization of relations [with Serbia], which implies the recognition [of Kosovo] as the basis of an agreement. This is his wish; it is not in the dialogue, it is not on the agenda," Petkovic said in a televised appearance on the Radio Television of Serbia broadcaster.
Borrell's announcement comes after Kosovar leader Albin Kurti noted on Tuesday that fines for car plates with the Serbian identifier would be postponed following a request from American officials.
Tensions have remained heated between Kosovo and Serbia for some time. Earlier this week, Kosovo officials dispatched special police forces to its northern area after negotiations over the car plates dispute proved fruitless.
At the time, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated Pristina had been intending on using violence amid hostilities, underscoring that he would fully throw his support behind Serbs in Kosovo.
"If someone thinks that they can expel the Serbian people, kill and hurt our people, it is my job to remind them the same thing I have said many times with all seriousness and determination," Vucic said. "And when I say this, unlike some others, I know what it means — we will be with our Serbian people and will not leave them in trouble."
The latest clash between Serbia and Kosovo ticked up over the summer as Kosovar officials implemented rules requiring Serbs in the area to re-register their vehicle so their license plates feature the EU-standard letter code for the Republic of Kosovo. The change was in effect to replace the "KM" designation on plates, which is used to identify the disputed region of Kosovska Mitrovica.
The deadline for the new changes had been October 31; however, the cutoff period was later postponed to November 22 amid negotiations in Brussels.